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News

  • RLabs raises R10-million for Youth Innovation Programme

    Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) has announced that it has received R10-million in funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners to help with its Youth Innovation Programme. RLabs is a global community based movement and registered social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. Founded in 2008, the organisation hopes to "impact, empower and reconstruct local and global communities through innovation." It seems with the latest investment...

  • Kenya’s M-Shwari crosses Ksh1 billion in mobile banking transactions a month

    Recent estimates put adoption for M-Pesa, Kenya's wildly successul mobile payment service for the unbanked, at 17 million users. The service that allows users without bank accounts to complete simple financial transactions, received a boost through M-Shwari, a bolt-on service that allows M-Pesa users access to savings accounts and loans, in late 2012. M-Shwari netted over 70 000 registrations in its first day and the latest from Fiorano Software, the company who's Fiorano ESB middleware along with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) powers M-Shwari, suggests that the service is still growing at a rate of 40 000 signups per...

  • As it readies its $109m venture fund, Japan’s Docomo invests in 500 Startups

    Japanese telco NTT Docomo announced today that the company is ready to open the 10 billion yen (US$109-million) venture fund that it teased back in October. To make it happen, Docomo, through its US-based subsidiary Docomo Capital, will make an investment in the US-based incubation fund 500 Startups so as to help its incubated mobile-related startups get some traction in overseas markets. The incubation program that it announced before has actually opened today, and is taking startup registrations up until March 11th. Selected companies will receive various resources and guidance, including seed funding of up to 2-million yen (US$23 000) in convertible notes, office...

  • Bummed there is no Twitter on Mxit? Don’t fret now you have Tweetr

    As a platform, Mxit seems to be evolving. In the last year it has expanded the user experience by opening up its API and allowing third-party developers to build apps for the mobile social network. In December a third-party developer quietly launched Tweetr on Mxit, an app that allows users to browse tweets from Twitter's mobile site without the need for a Twitter account. "The decision to incorporate twitter into Mxit was a simple one. I knew there was demand for these two content segments and if we simplified accessibility to the content (that users are already searching for)...

  • 8 mobile ventures get $2.4 million from Knight Foundation

    The Knight Foundation has announced the latest winners of its news challenge. The media innovation challenge is aimed at getting startups to build applications that can be used in a newsroom. This year's theme was mobile, and the projects were quite focused on the developing world where mobile is king. Most of the chosen projects focus on using mobile to get news and information in emerging markets. Veteran information dispenser, Wikipedia, will develop new tools to allow people to access articles and knowledge via text message in different languages. The project is part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s bigger remit to...

  • Pastel enters the personal finance game

    Pastel My Money is joining the likes of Moneysmart, 22seven and Nedbank in an all out barroom brawl for personal finance management supremacy. Softline Pastel, a trusted name in South African accounting software is launching a new online play. For those that remain circumspect of online finance management tools -- for whatever reason -- Pastel's cachet could do well to galvanise interest. Like its competitors Pastel My Money allows you to manage transactions and track spending on your various bank accounts. The service can import bank statements from an unlimited number of internet bank and credit card accounts. Each profile allows...

  • World of Avatar cuts funding to Boom.fm amid Mxit layoffs [Update]

    Online social music startup Boom.fm is set to close down after its funding was withdrawn by investment incubator hybrid World of Avatar. In an email, which was also posted on the service's site, the company said it couldn't cover its operating costs with its current revenue streams. In the mail, the company says it remains dedicated to the South African music industry: The Boom.fm team is incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the past year. We have been true to our intention of growing and supporting the success of the local music industry. The caliber of people we...

  • SA’s Innovation agency approves R100m for venture capital fund

    Tech is the future and fostering innovation is in vogue. South Africa's Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is in agreement. According to a Business Day report, the agency is dedicated to helping grow innovation in the country has approved a R100-million venture capital fund to help VCs help fund startups. According to the report, the agency -- which received an allocation of R433-million in this financial year -- has been under some strain questioning if this was part of its mandate. TIA was established in 2008 as an effort to bridge the innovation gad between ideas and executed products. The...

  • Zando gets €20 million investment boost from Summit Partners

    International growth equity investor Summit Partners is set to invest €20 million in South African online retail giant Zando. This shows a huge vote of confidence in the South African ecommerce industry. Summit, a growth equity and credit investing company, has investments in more than 350 rapidly growing businesses across North America, Europe and Asia, raising nearly US$15-billion since 1984. "We seek to invest in companies that build long-term value," said Scott Collins, managing director and head of the Summit Partners London office. "Zando has shown dynamic growth in a short period of time." This investment comes just a...

  • Signed, sealed and delivered: the Mxit/Motribe deal

    Mxit has officially inked the deal to buy social network builder Motribe. We reported a few weeks ago that the deal was in its final stages, we now have confirmation from the mobile social network that it is now the 100% owner of Motribe after buying out the current shareholders 4Di Capital, Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher. Motribe has been working closely with Mxit over the last few months building photo-based apps for the platform. The most successful apps include MxPix (an Instagram-style photo sharing and filtering app that hit a million users in just over a month) and JudgeMe,...